The economic stimulus package legislation that was approved this afternoon by Congress, and is now before the U.S. Senate, includes a shorter COBRA subsidy, say analysts reviewing the $790 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. COBRA is the acronym for the 23-year-old Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act program.

The shorter subsidy is estimated to cost $24.7 billion, and would provide an estimated 7 million involuntarily terminated employees, laid off between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009, with a 65% federal subsidy for up to nine months of COBRA health insurance premiums.

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